Technology leaders must be able to assess the capabilities and limitations of different technologies
This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Vandana Verma, Security Relations Leader at Snyk
How did you plan your career path to be a successful technology leader?
To start, it was a natural progression. I did not necessarily have a concrete plan in place when I first entered the tech industry, but I did have specific goals and aspirations that I pursued throughout my career. Coming into cyber security was serendipity; in my first organization, I was also asked to join the cyber security job. I worked hard to gain a strong cybersecurity foundation and continuously sought opportunities to learn and grow. I also surrounded myself with supportive mentors and colleagues who could offer guidance and encouragement. The options that were presented to me and the choices I made along the way paved my path towards where I am.
As I progressed in my career, I learned to be adaptable and open to new challenges and opportunities. I took on roles that allowed me to learn new skills and gain exposure to different areas of the tech industry. I always remember to learn and share. Knowledge grows when you share. I also remained current on the latest trends and technologies, and I actively sought opportunities to share my knowledge and experience with others. As I gained experience and developed my skills, I took on more responsibility and leadership roles within my organization.
Ultimately, my career path as a successful technology leader was shaped by a combination of hard work, dedication, and a willingness to embrace new challenges and opportunities. By continuously striving for growth and development, I was able to create a successful career in the tech industry. It was not a conscious plan that I had developed but rather a path that unfolded naturally over time.
What challenges you faced in your career path and how did you overcome them?
Throughout my career, I have faced several challenges that have required me to adapt and find creative solutions. One of the biggest challenges I faced was believing that I could take up the leadership roles—a misconception that I had to overcome. I had to learn how to manage and motivate a team, effectively communicate with them, and delegate tasks to team members. To overcome this challenge, I sought out mentorship from more experienced leaders and took leadership and management courses. I also made an effort to listen to and understand my team members’ perspectives and be open to their ideas and suggestions.
Another challenge I faced was staying current on the latest technologies and trends in the tech industry. With the rapid pace of innovation, it cannot be easy to keep up with everything happening. I allocated time for ongoing learning and professional development to overcome this challenge. I also tried to stay connected with colleagues and peers who could share their knowledge and insights. Learning and continuing to learn is my mantra for staying ahead of the game.
Overall, the key to overcoming challenges in my career has been to stay focused on my goals, to be open to learning and growth, and to seek out support and guidance from others. By approaching challenges with a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt, I have overcome various obstacles and continue to advance in my career.
What are the challenges faced by technology leaders today while implementing digital technologies?
One of the significant challenges faced by technology leaders today is the complexity of digital technologies. With so many tools and platforms available, determining which technologies are the most appropriate and effective for a given business need can be difficult. Technology leaders must be able to assess the capabilities and limitations of different technologies, as well as their potential impact on business processes and outcomes.
Another challenge that technology leaders face is managing the change that comes with implementing new technologies. Learning and unlearning are processes. The team needs to learn the new technology in depth before implementing it. A lot of times, we start using the technology without properly knowing it, which leads to issues.
Speaking from the perspective of security and privacy concerns, as more businesses rely on digital technologies, there is an increased risk of cyber-attacks and data breaches. Anything that is on the internet is considered already available for attackers, and we are trying to make sure they don’t get access to the data. As someone rightly said, “Data is the new oil.” If it’s spilled, no one can put it back.
How can technology leaders overcome the challenges faced?
Technology leaders must also consider regulatory compliance when implementing digital technologies. It includes ensuring that the technology meets relevant privacy and security regulations and any industry-specific requirements. There are many laws and bills around privacy, like the CCPA, GDPR, and now the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill in India. It is of the utmost importance to understand what we are dealing with instead of treating compliance as a checkbox.
Never shy away from asking for help; organisations have limited resources. In that case, asking for help from different teams and cross-skilling people and teams is a good idea.
Get to know the environment better. It is essential to know your people, processes, technology, and assets. If we do not know what we have in our organisation, how do we know our strengths and weaknesses?
Automating as much as humanly possible will help reduce errors. It is the way to go for any organisation and a means to innovation.
Any best practices, industry trends, or advice you’d give to fellow technology leaders to help them succeed professionally?
Build and maintain strong relationships: The first and foremost thing is to build a great relationship with the people around you. These could be colleagues, industry peers, leaders, or teammates.
Be open and transparent: It can help you foster a positive and collaborative work environment. There is always room to grow.
Self-Development: The tech industry is constantly evolving, so staying current on the latest technologies and trends is essential. It can be achieved through ongoing learning and professional development activities, such as attending conferences and networking events and staying up-to-date on industry news and blogs.
Prioritize work-life balance: It’s vital to prioritize it, as this can help reduce burnout and increase overall productivity and happiness.
Innovate: Take calculated risks. This can drive growth and success within your organization.
Any other points that you would like to highlight?
We should not use technology because it is cool; rather, we should use it because it is a requirement and necessity for us. Technology is always changing. Keeping up with the new trends is the way to go.
CIO News, a proprietary of Mercadeo, produces award-winning content and resources for IT leaders across any industry through print articles and recorded video interviews on topics in the technology sector such as Digital Transformation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud, Robotics, Cyber-security, Data, Analytics, SOC, SASE, among other technology topics